RUGBY: Oaks go down fighting against rampant Rochford in London & South East Premier League
Rochford Hundred 38 Sevenoaks Rugby 3
Sevenoaks Rugby 1st XV headed to Rochford Hundred knowing they would have to be at the very top of their game to bring any points back from Essex. Rochford are imposing themselves on London & South East Premier and having been promoted two seasons on the bounce, find themselves alongside Wimbledon and Guernsey in the equivalent of the promotion shake up at the season’s midway point. On Saturday Rochford convincingly defeated Sevenoaks 38-3 and are now just two points off the top slot.
The day started ominously for the Oaks, when a few solid phases resulted in an opening try for Rochford within the first five minutes. The visitors were stung into action and in fact had themselves to blame for not being in closer contention at half-time.
Rochford headed to the sheds with a 12-3 advantage, after a number of basic errors from Oaks, forced by a lively and rapid Rochford press cost them dearly. The Oaks’ line-out in particular did not seem to be clicking and on several occasions they yielded promising field position by getting pinged for over exuberance at the breakdown.
In the opening salvos of the second half, Oaks put the first half behind them with an impressive sequence of moves to press hard at the Rochford whitewash, time and again driving for the line only to end up short.
Rochford’s line speed and some cynical and calculated killing of the ball at the right moments managed to keep Oaks out. Emboldened by these defensive efforts, Rochford found their tempo and for the middle phase of the second half a gulf in class opened between the National League contenders and the visitors.
Fast hands, snappy footwork, imposing lines and great continuity found some gaping holes in the Oaks lines. During 10 devastating minutes Rochford scored four unanswered tries, three of them converted and duly moved into an unassailable 38-3 lead.
To their credit, Oaks kept battling away, and it was once again only resolute defending by Rochford that kept their opponents at bay. The pressure that Oaks exacted at the start and close of the second half led to three Yellow cards for the home side. Many congratulations to Savills Man of the Match Fred Richardson.
There was encouragement in the form of two fine victories for the Sevenoaks Rugby 2nd XV away to Farnham RFC and the Gents at Cranbrook RFC.
Sevenoaks 1st team must now dust themselves down and put in the hard yards during training for the final two matches of 2019. In the first of this key brace of fixtures, this Saturday the 1st XV host Tring RFC at Knole Paddock. 2:00pm kick off and all support is very welcome.